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A Different View

Can we all get a hundred and fifty grand off our mortgage?

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I have to come clean and admit that I have made a series of critical financial errors right from the moment we decided to buy our family home.

First off, we paid way too much for it – five years in therapy have allowed me to wipe the actual amount from my memory but I do know that the house across the road is now on the market for not much more than one-third of the price the owner rejected around the time that we bought ours.

But my biggest mistake was that I took out an enormous mortgage and I’ve kept paying it religiously ever since.

Stupidly I kept doing it when we could have gone on long holidays instead; I still paid up when we could have changed the car or bought a little hideaway in France or Turkey.

I should have stopped paying and squirreled away just enough to fly to a bolthole in the UK or the US from where I could declare myself well and truly bankrupt.

I’d then have had to hunker down in my condominium with the beach views until such time as my period in financial limbo was at an end – and then I could have come home to start all over again.

But I was stupid – like tens of thousands others out there who have prioritised the repayment of their mortgage over all other debts and who have actually accomplished nothing more than making the hole even deeper than it was at the start.

And somehow, we’re the lucky ones.

We’re not allowed to voice our frustrations at a system, where we pay all of the tax on our income because we don’t have a team of accountants to reveal those little-known tax havens.

Our earnings are there for any taxman worth his salt to see; we have no other sources of income unless twenty quid on a 4/1 winner at Cheltenham qualifies.

Every utility provider has us by the proverbials, because we’re signed up on a direct debit that ensures they get their dosh before my wages have even settled in to their new surroundings.

So we have no hiding places, no secret accounts, no three-month credit window on our bills – we work, we get paid, we pay out and the cycle starts all over again.

And yes, we’re lucky that we have jobs and an income because there are many who don’t – but does that preclude us from anger or frustration because we barely have the wherewithal to keep our heads over water?

I do not, for one minute, begrudge the Dublin couple who had one-third of their mortgage debt written off by AIB last week. I just wish that I could have €150,000 taken off mine.

That wouldn’t even halve my mortgage, but it would give me the security that I crave – the money for college, for pensions, for the rainy day. As it is, every day is a rainy day and with a massive mortgage it will continue so for years to come.

Our Dublin friends owed €400,000 after borrowing to buy their home during the boom, and they are struggling with loans, credit card debt and other borrowings.

They are caught in a trap from which there is no escape – and this represented the only pragmatic solution, as well as being the morally correct route to take as well. 

The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation are a fantastic group of people who provide the only shelter in the midst of a financial storm for couples who find themselves at their wit’s end.

As the banks close in on repossession and everything you’ve worked for heads down the pan, these angels of mercy come to pull as much as they can from the wreckage to allow you to cling in to your life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

You can’t force the craic at the Christmas Party

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s nothing like the Christmas Party to bring out the little devils who’ve spent their working lives blending in with the filing cabinet; one craft beer too many and they’re up on top of the photocopier scanning images of their tail end to send to the world.

The party animal is often the quiet one who spends the rest of the year in the corner, timidly stepping aside if you pass them in the corridor – but with a few bevvies on board, they’re Lemmy from Motorhead in the middle of a world tour.

Of course there are also some people who dread the Christmas party – or even after-work drinks, if that’s still a thing – and as their worst nightmare comes looming over the horizon, they might take some comfort from a recent court case in France.

Because an unnamed worker has just won the right to be utterly boring after a court ruled that he could not be dismissed, just because he didn’t want to join the rest of the staff in the pub.

Known simply as Mr T – an unfortunate choice of initial if you were a fan of the larger-than-life big guy in the A-Team back in the day – our friend was a senior advisor for a Parisian training firm called Cubik Partners.

One of those typically trendy modern operations, they work on a ‘fun and pro’ basis – which is presumably a variation on playing hard and working hard sometimes too – and part of that outlook involved regular social events ‘to bolster team spirit’.

But Mr T had no truck with the spirits – internal or alcoholic – and didn’t want to hang out with his colleagues for a minute longer than work demanded.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How to win elections with the promises you can keep

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The man who was already the world’s oldest prime minister stood for election again last weekend at the tender age of 97 – arguing quite legitimately that he was fully fit for high office on the basis that he was ‘still standing and talking’.

Mahathir Mohamad was already a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s oldest current prime minister since he became premier of Malaysia for a second time in 2018.

Proving that age is no impediment to ambition, he put himself forward again last weekend – only this time he fulfilled that age-old observation of Enoch Powell, that most unctuous of Tories from times past, who once said that all political lives end in failure…even if it’s a relative thing and you could hardly be said to have been cut down early, at the age of 97.

Adding insult to injury, not alone did he finish fourth of five candidates in Langkawi, a resort island in Malaysia’s northwest, which he had won with a large majority in the previous poll in 2018 – he also lost his deposit.

It wasn’t even an ageist thing; his entire party failed to win a single seat.

And for comfort in his hour of need, he can still look to Laos where the Prime Minister Khamtai Siphandone is still going strong at just short of 99 – although the fact that he is the chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party means you don’t have to actually come up with an election manifesto because, more specifically, you don’t have to stand for election.

But if you do – and accepting Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend disappointment – going before the electorate on a platform of boasting the ability to walk and talk is at least an honest one.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Getting locked away from all the rest can be no bad thing

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We all got used to a level of confinement during Covid, and if we were honest, occasionally, it was as much of a blessing than a curse; nobody calling unexpectedly to bother you, no journeys you’d prefer to avoid – even if ultimately we were happy to emerge from our pandemic hibernation.

But imagine if you were trapped for days in a pub during a storm – or in Disneyland during a snap lockdown.

Because for the very lucky few, that happened too.

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney Resort recently found themselves barred from leaving until they produced a negative Covid test after a snap lockdown.

And we can all remember last November with envy, when customers who went to see an Oasis tribute band called Noasis found themselves trapped for days in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales as a result of heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.

In both cases, quite honestly, it must have been like a dream come true.

The Disney Resort shut its doors all of a sudden after ten cases of coronavirus were discovered in Shanghai itself, with all visitors locked in the theme park until they were given the all-clear.

And while you’d think the reaction would be to kick back and literally enjoy the ride, online videos showed many of the visitors rushing to the gate trying to avoid being stuck in the park.

Perhaps the Chinese have had enough of snap lockdowns and feared they’d literally be on the swings and roundabouts for days on end – because a day earlier, workers at Foxconn, the biggest iPhone maker in Zhengzhou city, were videoed climbing over fences to avoid a similar snap lockdown.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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